Why I decided to enroll in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and become a Health Coach?

July 17, 2017. This was my back-to-school date. A few months ago I’ve decided to go back to school a little bit earlier than usual at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. This is totally different from what I used to do in my previous corporate job and can be a little bit surprising for some of you so I wanted to share with you why I made this decision.

My background
I’m turning 30 years old this year and I worked in the Audit department of one of the Big 4 over the past 7 years. I started to work there right after I obtained my Master degree in Corporate Finance. At that time, I made the right decision that was in total alignment with what I wanted to do. I felt challenged. I also had the opportunity to move to LA three years ago and it was for the best. The interest I always had into fitness and nutrition turned into a passion. It’s well known that LA is the place to be if you want to get the best out of all the new trends in fitness and food.

My passion for health and nutrition kept growing while meeting so many inspiring women who decided to make a change in their lives. By suffering from eating disorder and the low self-esteem that is usually associated with it, I know the importance of nutrition in life and I wanted to learn more and more about it in order to help others. I’ve been fascinated with understanding how the different aspects in our life (food, exercise, career, relationships, love…) have an impact on our overall health. I was eating pretty healthy and exercising a lot but I also was over stressed and I knew I needed something different in my career. Something was clearly missing. I started to develop some health issues (hormonal imbalance and adrenal fatigue) and I realized how essential my health was. My contract came to its end in June 2017 and I made the decision not to pursue this path. I needed to take a break and discover something else, something I loved. This resulted in my enrollment at a Nutrition School.

Fitness & Nutrition: I made a decision
It's only last year when I created my passion roadmap that I discovered I wanted to become a certified health coach. One year passed and by making the decision to take a break in my career and do something new, I pushed myself to get out of my comfort zone and follow what my gut was telling me. And believe me, it’s a HUGE and HARD decision for me. I’m usually the kind of person who needs to analyze all the aspects and the results before making a decision.

 Why I enroll at the institute of integrative nutrition?

Without this experience in the US, I would have never taken the courage to take this break in my career and make the decision to pursue something I love. I am fascinated to see how people there are eager to create, innovate, fall down and try again (a real entrepreneur spirit).

The first step was to take the NASM personal trainer certification which I successfully passed in March 2017. Learning all the mechanisms that impact the way our body moves and how to optimize my workout was highly beneficial for me. I learned a lot and it gave me so much knowledge and a better understanding of how our body works and what to do to prevent or fix muscles imbalances (mainly resulting from our lifestyle - see my article about the importance of stretching). Fitness and nutrition are intimately related and they are both components of a healthy lifestyle.

I did research on the Schools and different programs. Being a health coach was an important decision that was totally out of the career path I built over the past few years and I wanted to get the best out of it. Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) offered the most complete program that responded to many of my criteria: flexibility, holistic approach, connections with thousand of students all over the world…

What to expect with the program?
It is a one-year program. The entire course is online so knowing that I was going back to France, I would have the flexibility to work from wherever I am and study when I want. A new module is released every week and it is composed of videos, audios that can be watch/listen on my laptop, tablet or phone so it’s easy to study even if I am not at home.

As an Integrative Health Coach, I will be a supportive mentor to guide you and help you to feel the best through food and lifestyle changes. I won’t be a dietician, a nutritionist or a doctor but rather I will support the development of and progress toward your personal wellness goals. I will use a holistic approach to support you by focusing on your relationships, exercise, career, spirituality as well as food.

I’m on Module 13 right now and I’m really excited about the coming classes. This program really emphasizes the importance of bio-individuality which means that what works for you doesn’t necessarily works for other. They like to say “one person’s food is another person's poison”.

One person’s food is another person’s poison
— Institute for Integrative Nutrition

I used to consider health as a destination but the more I read and learn, the more I understand that health is a journey, it evolves and changes and you have to constantly listen to what your body tells you instead of trying a new diet that will let you completely deprive of happiness.

I hope this information helped you to understand my decision. Please feel free to email me at getfitfrenchie@gmail.com if you want to get more details about the program.

Here are a few links to get more information:

EAT - Protein Chocolate Oatmeal

There is literally no seasons to appreciate a bowl of hot oatmeal in the morning.

Oatmeal is on my list of comfort foods and is a good way to include some superfoods to get extra nutrient out of it.
This recipe is one of my favorite. It can satisfy your chocolate cravings and the choices for the topping are infinite. Just give it a try.

 Warm chocolate oatmeal

Protein Chocolate Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quick rolled oats 
  • 2 tbsp of chia seed
  • 1 tbsp of raw cacao powder
  • 1 cup of milk (I like to use almond milk or hemp milk)
  • 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder (I use Nuzest Rich Chocolate)

Optional

Directions

Cook the oats with the milk over the heat until it becomes fluffy and creamy.
Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix well. You might need to add a little bit of water as the powders usually absorb all the milk. Cook another minute or until it reaches the consistency you like.
Serve warm with strawberries and cocoa nibs.

And the best part: you can always play with the toppings and change them to match the season.

Hope you love it!

 Creamy chocolate oatmeal for breakfast
 Protein chocolate oatmeal

Why you should incorporate more stretching into your life? Sharing 5 benefits of stretching

From running meetings after meetings, having a quick lunch between calls, going to happy hours with friends to preparing dinner for the family, we are all trying to squeeze a workout without really thinking about how our environment and daily activities impact our posture and range of motion.

While studying for my NASM certification, I learned a lot about the importance of posture in order to produce effective and safe movement and avoid injuries. Before stepping back into my fitness routine, I focused on bringing more stretching and corrective exercises, as well as more yoga classes to work on my flexibility and improve my alignment.

 Integrate stretching into your life

Sitting all day behind my computer has contributed to create muscles imbalances and poor flexibility especially on my hips and upper back. I realized that in order to be more efficient in my workout and activate the muscles I target, I needed to incorporate stretch sessions into my fitness journey. But there are more benefits that you should consider for your overall well-being.

Here are 5 benefits you can get from stretching on a regular basis:

  1. Wake you up during the day: Have you ever felt a little bit sluggish during an afternoon full of meetings? Standing up, moving around and stretching will make your blood flows and will improve your energy level (so you won’t need this extra cup of coffee to help you go through the rest of your day). And with a body and mind more alert, you will be more productive.
     
  2. Activate muscles before a workout and reduce muscle imbalance: it helps to ensure a better posture by lengthening tight muscles. And with a better form, you will make the most of your sweaty session. Think about your squat - by stretching before your session, you can go deeper and be more efficient and have great results.
     
  3. Enable flexibility and reduce risk of injury: By stretching your muscle regularly and being aware of your movement, you will more likely avoid bad injuries. You can easily include some dynamic stretches during your warm-up and be safe during your workout.  
     
  4. Reduce soreness: Stretching increases blood flow which increases the nutrient supply to the muscles and relieves soreness. Never skip a stretch session (even a short one) after your workout, your muscles will thank you.
     
  5. Help you to reduce your stress level: As it relieves tight muscles and so tension. Tension can have a negative impact on mind and body. Think about the neck pain that you’re suffering from while working on your computer the whole day and how much stress you put on your body.

I also love using a foam roller and a trigger point massage ball to complete my sessions and get a full and deep stretch in some particular areas. After spending years seating behind a computer all day long, I developed what’s called upper and lower crossed syndromes. These are the results of poor posture (think about your head going forward while looking at your phone or your butt always sitting on a chair without proper movements) and can lead to muscles imbalance and over-stress on the joints. So make sure to schedule enough time to properly stretch. 

 Stretching poses

What you put in your plate can also play a role when it comes to joint & bone health. I discovered Vital Proteins and I have been using their products for almost a year now. You’ve probably already heard about it, especially after Jenifer Aniston revealed that her morning routine includes this smoothie packed with collagen powder. Beyond all the beauty benefits (improve skin elasticity, restore skin’s moisture), collagen has a lot of health benefits (promote joint and bone health, improve digestion…). It is naturally present in our body - muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels - but as we aged, our body’s collagen production naturally slows down (hello wrinkles!) and we need to find other ways to fight the signs of aging.

While working on my flexibility, I found it beneficial to include supplements that promote joint & bone health to help me increasing mobility and flexibility of my joints. Along my (new) fitness journey, I have been dealing with joints issues and muscles imbalances (thank you long hours at the office) and by incorporating collagen into my diet , I have been able to increase my mobility and recover faster from my workout and I’ve noticed my body is capable to heal quicker (I don’t even mention the serving of protein you get).

I just add collagen peptides everywhere. The unflavored Collagen Peptides is just so easy to use and doesn’t add any flavors to your preparation. I love it in my smoothies or my lattes.

My favorite right now: the vanilla + coconut water collagen peptides that gives this delicious flavor to my drinks or oatmeal, and it includes probiotics as well (perfect for a healthy gut!).

I would love to hear what’s your favorite routine to promote flexibility.


For those who don't live in the US, you can order your dose of collagen on Iherb.com 

Strawberry and Avocado Smoothie

Smoothies are my favorite on-the-go options - for breakfast, pre or post-workout or even for a snack, there is always a good occasion to sip on a refreshing and healthy drink. 

The choices are infinite with so many different healthy combinations.  I love trying new recipes and this one is a good alternative for people who look at their “sugar intake” and want to try a low-glycemic version as I am using the avocado the give it its creamy texture instead of bananas.

It is super quick and easy and it takes less than 5 minutes to prepare it.

Strawberry and Avocado Smoothie

 Healthy Strawberry and Avocado Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • Half of a medium avocado (~50g)
  • ½ cup frozen strawberries (~100g)
  • 1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or any of your favorite milk)
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (~22g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp rolled oats (optional)
  • Filtered water (optional)

Directions:

  • Add all ingredients into a high powered blender
  • Blend until smooth. Add water to reach the consistency you desire.
  • Enjoy!

For the banana lovers, you can always switch the avocado for a medium frozen banana. Smoothies are just a simply way to increase your nutrients intake (especially because most of the food used is consumed raw). You can be very creative by mixing up greens (spinach, kale...), fruits & veggies (think about frozen cauliflower or beets) and superfood (hemp seeds, maca powder, raw cacao powder, chia seeds...).

What is your favorite smoothie recipe?